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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
This is the sixth editing of the Visual QuickStart Guide to this book and it is the best so far. It finally focuses on some of the WSC standard DOM practices that all the other new JavaScript books have been showing the past year. It also has some a great chapter on one of the most popular JavaScript library/toolkits: Yahoo! UI. This library by Yahoo! has tons of ways to help you create quickly a JavaScript and/or Ajax widget/application for your own site.

This book is a great beginner book for people trying to get into coding or programming since all you need is a web browser and no fancy compiler or other costly program. The book goes though the basics of JavaScript with creating variables and where to put your scripts. The author shows you some simple examples to get you started. It then focuses on more language basics such as loops, if statements, creating custom functions, and arrays. It gives a simple examples for each topic and then builds a small application with each new topic covered to show the reader how they all can be put together. I really like how the author does this because it shows the reader what can be done with JavaScript instead of just explaining each topic and moving on.

The book then covers manipulating images with JavaScript since doing image-rollovers is what got JavaScript noticed years ago. Then the bigger chapters focus on handling forms which the other big use of JavaScript for years. Being able to manipulate data in forms as well as validate that data is crucial for understanding some of the power of JavaScript. The book also has a good section in Chapter 8, with forms and regular expressions. Using regular expressions can be very tricky but he book gives some good examples on how to use them with some of the built-in JavaScript objects (string) to validate specific patterns of form data (ie. email address).

Towards the end of the book (chapter 9 and 10), the author covers basic event handling (onload, onmouseover, onmouseout, onfocus, onblur, onkeypress, etc) and creating and editing cookies. These two topics have been around for years in JavaScript, but are an important topic(s) if you want to learn additional JavaScript topics.

The rest of the book covers most of the new additions for this 6th version: DOM, JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), Ajax, Ajax toolkits (Yahoo! UI), Bookmarlets (small scripts stored in browser favorites - IE7 may not work because of updated security). Each topic is covered in enough detail to give the reader a good basics understanding of some of the more advanced topics that are used today.

After this book, you can progress to more JavaScript books focusing on DOM or JavaScript Libraries or Ajax.

This is a great first book on JavaScript for someone new to programming or coding. Whether you're a graphic designer or just a internet newbie wanted to get started.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2009
I was required to purchase this book for a class on JavaScript and Ajax. Now that we're a few weeks into the semester, pretty much everyone in my class--including my professor--agrees that this book is more or less useless.

This book does not teach JavaScript. Rather, it teaches you how to complete the examples in each chapter. It doesn't explain the script it wants you to use, and it doesn't really go over any of the basics of JavaScript. My experience with this book has been entirely negative. I have no previous JS experience, and this book isn't helping me to learn anything. At all.

I would not recommend this book to anybody who knows nothing about JavaScript--which of course are the people who could really benefit from a teaching manual (like me). Unfortunately I cannot think of any other text to suggest, but I'm hoping that will change in the near future once I have acquired a different book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2006
While this is not the book to use if you've never even attempted programming, if you have at least moderate experience, Dori and Tom's latest revision will get you moving in the JS/Ajax world quite quickly. As a sysadmin running everything but AS/400s at the moment, I am more than a little appreciative that they tested out the book's code on as many browsers and platforms as they did.

It's not the Ultimate Tome Of Javascript Knowledge, but it's not supposed to be. Nor is it going to tell you how to do everything. But what it will do, and by design, is get you pointed in the right direction , and give you the basic skills and knowledge you need to get down to business quickly.

I will agree that some of the pagination is suboptimal, but that's Peachpit's problem, and at least to me, didn't detract, and doesn't detract from the book's ability to get me from 0 to 60 in a short amount of time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2009
Javascript is quite hard to learn from books (well, it's a hard scripting language to learn for a number of reasons, mostly because *nobody* seems to understand the need for teaching syntax in the setting of a full script). Most books give you long, impenetrable narrative about the DOM and DOM2, the history of ECMA, deep theoretical discussions of the difference between, say, NULL and "undefined" and NaN. They are impossibly poorly suited to some guy like me, who builds webpages, has a good grasp of server-side languages, and wants to know some more solid client-side js techniques than putting a few event handlers into forms or alerting "Hello World!". These respected tomes teach little practical syntax or structure for an actual script.

This Visual QuickStart guide almost succeeds. Unlike the others, after teaching the necessary grammatical basics, it runs you through actual scripts while explaining what they do and why. It's an excellent method of teaching any programming language from a book. Larry Ullman, for instance, is a master of this writing style.

Unfortunately, the approach suffers from major defects of execution. Negrino clearly has a few philosophical postures about how javascript should be written, especially that js scripts should be written in external files in such a manner that they can be used, without modification, on any html page. This is actually okay, since it's a good approach for a more advanced programmer -- it just leaves out all other possible ways of accomplishing something and, at the worst, buries some concepts inside unnecessarily complex structures .

Much worse, the book is just poorly edited and supported. It is a nightmare to try to download the scripts from the website and, when you do, necessary graphics are missing. Even worse, the names given to the downloaded files are different from the names given to the files in the book, so you end up having to open and inspect files and scripts, and compare them to the ones in the book, to find out which one he's talking about.

In the book itself, the explanations often appear, completely unnecessarily, on a different page from the scripts. This is inexcusably lazy editing/formatting for a book this expensive. A couple of the scripts don't even work.

It's just a very frustrating book to use. It could easily have gotten five stars from me: The material is all there for a terrific text for someone who wants to learn a good chunk of practical client-side scripting syntax along with beginner-to-intermediate js theory and vocabulary. It's just very slow and frustrating, because you waste half your time on ancilliary matters.

In short, an excellent book was written, but a mediocre book was published.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2007
I guess I'm spoiled after reading the Visual QuickStart guides by Larry Ullman on PHP and MySQL. In those you actually learn how to use the software by building or programming projects. That's the way you learn any skill -- by doing. Along the way, you also learn many valuable insights into why you're doing what you're doing. (It's also a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and frustration -- all an important part of learning!)

JavaScript and Ajax doesn't live up to that expectation. It's just another reference book, like countless other reference books on these subjects. If you like the style with lots of screenshots and don't already have a reference book on the subject, it might be worth buying. As one reviewer said, however, screenshots of code that reproduce what's already in the text just take up space that could be used for additional information. (They're very useful when you're actually building projects as a part of your learning.) Also, it's not as well organized and indexed as other reference books, such as those by Wrox.

Just keep in mind that you won't learn to do JavaScript and Ajax in this book. You only learn skills by doing. Instead, you will read about them. That's a very different thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2008
I've been learning JavaScript off and on, with some success, for three months. In doing so, I've skimmed about a half-dozen books and tried the following three, so far, "graded" below:

Learning JavaScript (Powers B-)
VQS JavaScript and Ajax (Negrino & Smith C+)
O'Reilly JavaScript Pocket Reference (Flanagan B)

It's hard to find good books on this because the subject matter is new and the books are often dashed off quickly. VQS JavaScript and Ajax is essentially a collection of well-explained examples of well-organized code. It's written more to fill pages than flesh out the subject, however. The explanations are unnecessarily wordy and the broader coverage of concepts, context and how to, you would want to include in a teaching book are missing.

Strangest of all perhaps is the author's choice of leaving out how html talks to Javascript or the details of how they link. Since JavaScript's purpose is to interact with html and pass things back and forth, it's sort of like doing marriage counseling and only focusing on what the woman's thinking. Unfortunately, they're not the only authors that make this oversight.

The VQS format is great and they do a good job of using color to highlight the portions of code they're referring to. This a great, annotated collection of code examples. It's something I've found to be only marginally helpful in getting started.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2008
JavaScript and Ajax for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (7th Edition)

This book like all books by Peachpit PressJavaScript and Ajax for the Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (7th Edition) is excellent. I would recommend it to anyone new and experienced to Javascript and Ajax topics. It is well written and offers real life examples you encounter while surfing the net.
One thing though about this book is that some of the sample pictures provided at the companion website are missing, for instance sample pictures for Building Wraparound Slideshowsin Chapter 4 are not provided.

All in all ,however, this is a great Javascript and Ajax book. I gave this book 4/5 because of the missing sample pictures, otherwise it deserves a 5/5.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2009
The 7th updated edition of JAVASCRIPT & AJAX FOR THE WEB is a visual quick start guide for beginning and intermediate users and any library catering to them, using an easy visual approach with pictures to offer step-by-step explanations of functions. A companion web site offers sample scripts and updates, while chapters cover the basics of cookies, form handling, and more. Updated to reflect the latest details, JAVASCRIPT & AJAX FOR THE WEB is a key acquisition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2009
I bought this book as a complete noob thinking it would take me from a beginner to someone who can write scripts from scratch. For me this is not the case, I'm finding that I'm having to supplement my learning from other sources in order to keep up with the book. The book rates this as a beginner to intermediate level book, but in my opinion, it's more of an intermediate level book. For this reason I give it only 3 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
Allow me to start by saying that a few years back I purchased the PHP and MySQL "Visual Quickstart Guide" by Larry Ullman, and that is what ultimately lead to this exact purchase. Second, learn JavaScript and AJAX NOW! Do not wait and come back to it. Learn it now.

The other reviewers who might give this book below a four-star rating might be looking at this book entirely wrong, however I can explain why. When you pick up this book without any previous knowledge (as it intends you are), you might be looking for something to teach you the JavaScript language and how to properly program it. You can't read a book and learn to program: you must apply yourself to practice the language and actually work through the examples that are given.

This book builds upon itself, starting with the very basic information leading to some advanced Ajax techniques. As you read through each chapter, develop the script or application it provides on your local machine or on your web server. Continually practice and read the descriptions of what each line does that the book gives.

While I do have a PHP background, I did everything in my power to keep that knowledge behind me. The JavaScript language works differently in its own ways. I went from not knowing how to even do a "Hello, world!" to being able to utilize complex Ajax functions.
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